Parenting comes with SO many questions and a lot of answers with unclear boundaries. There are a million different ways to parent and about as many answers to the various questions out there. One practice that isn’t new to the parenting scene, but has perhaps gone under-noticed, is the practice of banking your baby’s cord blood. Once a new innovation, this practice now has many years behind it, and is considered to be a potentially life-saving decision down the road. So what do you need to know about cord blood banking before the big day of your baby’s birth arrives? I’ve created this guide to cord blood banking as an easy to read blueprint to help guide you in making a decision about cord blood banking.
As a Registered Nurse, with the bulk of my experience in Obstetrics (namely labor and delivery), I have personally assisted in collecting cord blood for banking. I come from a place of experience not only in the medical field, but also as a mom. I hope my easy to read approach will assist you in deciding what is best for your family!
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking is the process of preserving your baby’s umbilical cord blood. The reason it is so important to preserve this is because the cells within your baby’s umbilical cord are stem cells. Stem cells are unique as opposed to other cells in our bodies because they have not differentiated into specific cell types yet. Instead, they can divide and produce cells that have the potential to become other more specific cell types, tissues, or organs. These new cells and tissues are used to repair or replace damaged or diseased cells in the body.
In short, you can’t just get stem cells anywhere! You have a one time opportunity when your baby is born to collect and preserve these stem cells for future use.
Why is it important to bank my baby’s cord blood?
Your baby’s cord blood cells are a perfect match for your baby, should he or she ever need a stem cell transplant. There is a 30% chance that the cord blood unit will be a high-quality match for a full sibling. Cord blood stem cells are also a half (or 3 out of 6) match for a parent. These half matches are currently being used in transplant research.
How can cord blood be used?
Cord blood can be used to treat diseases that may occur in your child or immediate family. Diseases currently treated with cord blood stem cells include immune deficiency diseases, leukemia, thalassemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and multiple myeloma.
Diseases that potentially may be treated with cord blood stem cells in the future (clinical trials in progress) include Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and peripheral vascular disease.
There are also potential regenerative medicine uses of cord blood stem cells which may be used in the future (lab research in progress) including bone repair, blood vessel repair, cardiac repair, brain repair, hearing loss treatment, cornea repair, liver repair and skin repair.
How do I preserve my baby’s cord blood for future use?
Choosing a reputable cord blood bank with proven results is of the utmost importance. You only have one opportunity to bank your baby’s cord blood and you want to ensure it is the properly trained hands of specialized staff. I recommend choosing StemCyte due to their proven track record of success. They’ve had almost 2000 Cord Blood Units transplanted to patients in over 300 transplant centers worldwide. StemCyte is highly respected by transplant physicians, obstetricians and hospitals worldwide. StemCyte is also the only Private Cord Blood Bank that is bothFACT and AABB Accredited.
StemCyte also offers the most comprehensive guarantee available in the industry, with their LifeSaver Guarantee that includes access to their Public Bank Inventory.
You can get more information about StemCyte on their site, download their free guide or give them a call for more information at 866-389-4659. I found them to be very helpful and quick to offer useful information to any of my questions.
How is cord blood collected to be banked?
I had the firsthand opportunity to assist in cord blood collection during deliveries. The process is very easy and is done after the placenta and umbilical cord are removed. You do not need any additional procedures. It’s simply a matter of collecting the cord blood after the delivery. Temperature is an important factor in maintaining the cells in transport and storage. StemCyte provides an insulated collection kit that can maintain the correct temperature of your valuable cord blood cells in the most challenging scenarios. Their kit has been tested and was validated against ISTE standards.
StemCyte uses a proprietary stem cell optimization process that consistently delivers cell recovery of 99% or higher. StemCyte offers one of the highest numbers of viable stem cells, functional, usable cells preserved years or even decades after their banking, in the industry.
Banking your baby’s cord blood is an easy process and a decision that could one day prove to be life-saving. You only get one chance to make your decision to ensure you have answered all of your questions before the big day arrives!